Assault on healthcare workers: MHA doesn't support Bill

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Union Home Ministry has informed J&K High Court that it did not support the draft bill seeking to address issues of assault on healthcare personnel.

The High court had sought the concerns and objections of the Ministry of Home Affairs to the draft bill titled “Health Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of violence and damage to property) Act, 2019. 

The Home Ministry had received the Bill through Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare for its concerns. Assistant Solicitor General,Vishal Sharma, while producing a communication from Union Union Home Ministry told a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal that the Ministry did not support the bill for several reasons. 

Enacting a separate legislation for prohibiting violence against doctors and other health care professionals, the Ministry said, would give rise to similar demands from other categories of professionals like media persons, advocates, bankers, charted accountants. 

The Ministry said the “State” is duty bound to protect life and property of all its citizens including professionals like media persons, doctors, engineers, advocates, bankers.   

The court however said it would be useful to have report from the Government of India regarding receipt of complaints from any category of professionals other than the health workers suffering violence and seeking enactment of legislation on the issue. The court sought a report in this regard by June 3.

The Court was hearing through video conferencing Public Interest Litigations including one it has initiated on its own motion on Covid19. Senior AAG B A Dar and AAG Shah Aamir represented the government from Srinagar. 

The court closed the issue with regard to removal of lockdown and the desirable public response after it went through a report filed by Atal  Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health & Medical Education Department.

On the issue of impact of pollen from poplar trees on coronavirus spread, the court said neither report of Expert Committee nor the decision taken thereon was placed before it. “Let the same be done before next date of hearing,” it said.  

With regard to the care of families of healthcare personnel and officials engaged in COVID-19 management, the court asked Mission Director ICPS, Social Welfare Department to file a proper report by June 3.  

With regard to e-Connectivity of Courts, the court made  Union Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Justice), through its secretary as party respondent.

ASGI Sharma accepted notice on behalf of the Ministry. “He shall ensure that the needed examination is expeditiously done and resolution of all difficulties facilitated,” the court said and asked Sharma to file status report. 

With regard to plight of cattle and stray animals, the report filed by SMC through its senior standing counsel M Moumin Khan indicated that extensive steps been taken in Srinagar. “It is heartening to see the steps which have been taken by the SMC to address the difficulties of stray animals including cattle,” the court said. The Court asked JMC to file a report in this regard by the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile the court directed the Union Territory of Ladakh to place a status report with regard to the steps being taken to ensure the welfare of the stray animals in Ladakh.